RENO, Nev. – The Latest on the death of a ski patrol member at Lake Tahoe killed in an accident involving explosives used to trigger avalanches (all times local PST):
Continue Reading Below
A ski resort at Lake Tahoe has reopened a day after a ski patrol member was killed in an accident involving explosives used to artificially trigger an avalanche.
Squaw Valley Ski Holdings CEO Andy Wirth says they reopened the resort north of Tahoe City, California, on Wednesday in honor of Joe Zuiches. He says the decision was made after consulting with members of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, who said the 42-year-old California man would have wanted it that way.
As of midday Wednesday, an online memorial fund already had raised more than $130,000 for his surviving wife and infant son.
Authorities say Zuiches was carrying an undisclosed amount of ammonium nitrate based charges when the explosion occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before the slopes were scheduled to open to the public.
Continue Reading Below
Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Alfredo Guitron says the emergency response required a team of explosives specialists to safely recover undetonated charges. That delayed the removal of the victim's body from the mountain until late Tuesday afternoon.
A ski patrol member was killed Tuesday in an accident involving explosives used to artificially trigger an avalanche at a Lake Tahoe ski resort, resort officials said.
Joe Zuiches, 42, of Olympic Valley, California, was killed while working with an avalanche-control crew to try to reduce the threat of a sudden, natural avalanche before the slopes were scheduled to open to the public later Tuesday morning at the Squaw Valley ski resort north of Tahoe City, California, the resort said.
The Placer County Sheriff's Office and the North Tahoe Fire Department are investigating the accident and official cause of death. But the resort said in a statement Tuesday afternoon the "cause is believed to be the detonation of an explosive charge."
Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, was closed Tuesday as a result of the death. Neighboring Alpine Meadows remained open.
Zuiches, who died at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, had been a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012.
The resort says he left behind a wife and infant son. Family and friends have established the Joe Zuiches Memorial Fund through Go Fund Me to help cover funeral expenses.
"The team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected," the resort said in a statement.
More than 3 feet of snow fell Monday on the Sierra Nevada. More than 23 feet of snow has fallen at some area resorts since Jan. 1.
The area had been under an avalanche warning much of the past two weeks, but the Sierra Avalanche Center listed the risk as "moderate" on Tuesday.
Early Monday, two California men were trapped in their car for about an hour when an avalanche buried the vehicle on State Highway 89 a few miles from Squaw Valley, which is south of U.S. Interstate 80 between Tahoe City and Truckee, California.